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yielded them a small margin. If their percentage of expense was 30, and the article only paid them a gross profit of 10 per cent, say, they argued that they lost 20 per cent on every sale.

"This is true," explained Mr. Walton, "provided the article 'turns over' only once a year. But if, satisfying yourself with a small profit, you carry a small stock, sell the article frequently, and turn over your investment twelve times a year, you will make a very handsome profit. Your profit is 10 per cent on every turnover; on twelve turnovers it is 120 per cent; and if you deduct from this your 30 per cent of expense, you still have left a net profit of 90 per cent!"

Is it necessary, we wonder, to show that this reasoning is perfectly childish? Doesn't everybody see through it at once?

But let's consider the question seriously for just a minute or two. If you turn over your stock twelve times a year, we may assume that you turn it over regularly once every month. Now Mr. Walton asserts that your percentage of expense is to be charged up only once a year. What, then, is the inference? Simply this: that during eleven months of the year no expense is chargeable against your business. You have no rent to pay, no light, no heat, you need no clerks to sell the goods, and it costs you nothing to transact your business. There is no expense until you reach the twelfth month of the year, when your stock is turned over the twelfth time!

Is this an unfair interpretation of Mr. Walton's reasoning? It does not seem to us to be so. It is the only possible explanation of this startling and unique presentation of a piece of plain mathematics.

We have no grievance against Mr. Walton personally. He happens to be a friend of the present writer. He is a mighty good man in his field-one of the leaders, as has already been stated. But he is evidently not a very good mathematician, and the reason that we have devoted this editorial to him is because we want to use him as an illustration. Many other men are advancing the same arguments and presenting the same object-lessons. woods seem to be full these days of faulty reasoning on this subject of stock turnovers.


As a matter of fact, you cannot escape the conclusion that every single time your stock turns over, it must yield a satisfactory measure

of profit. It doesn't make any difference if it turns over a thousand times a year-it must every time have charged against it the proper ratio of expense, and must be made to earn the proper ratio of profit.

The one penalty attaching to slow stock turnovers is merely this: You lose interest on the money invested-that's all. If you pay $1 for an article now, and keep it a year from now, it has cost you $1.06. If you sell it as quickly as you buy it, you save the extra six cents-and that's all you do save.

In addition, if an article can be handled very quickly by the clerk, with little loss of time, there is less expense for labor, but the transaction must still bear the same percentage of overhead expense that every last sale in the store must bear. There is positively no escape.


"Since the outbreak of the European war, bottles have advanced about 25 per cent, corks about 15 per cent, the paper on which our labels are printed about 50 per cent, the boxboard of which cartons are made about 25 per cent, and the finishing and packing expense (labor) about 50 per cent.

"One of our packaged cough remedies contains ammonium chloride, American cannabis, squill, gelsemium, senna, chloroform, and alcohol. The first-mentioned ingredient has advanced 75 per cent, the second 300 per cent, the third 400 per cent, the fourth 25 per cent, the fifth 500 per cent, the sixth 150 per cent, and the alcohol about 10 per cent. Another cough preparation contains horehound, which has advanced 300 per cent, and hyoscyamus, which has advanced more than 1000 per cent."

The foregoing is taken from a recent announcement of a well-known manufacturer. On the one hand the manufacturer is confronted by advanced costs all along the line, and on the other hand a loss of business stares him in the face if he raises his prices. He is between the imp of darkness and the habitat of the submarine.

It is true that it often happens that those ingredients on which there has been the greatest advance in cost are those which enter into the preparation in the smallest quantities, so the final score-the mean average of the percentage of advance-isn't nearly so bad as it sounds when each ingredient with its corre

sponding figure is sung off separately. But even after granting this, it must be admitted that the cost of turning out a product of the character under discussion has advanced very markedly.

The truth is that in many instances this advance is so marked that the product is put out by the manufacturer at a margin so slight that it does not fall short, very much, of being an actual loss.

Straight "patent medicines," possibly, are not affected to the extent above outlined. The lines which have been hit the hardest, doubtless, are those which may, for want of a better name, be termed "non-secrets."

If there is any truth in a certain trite old adage, the druggist may soften his discomfiture, when he faces rising costs, by the thought that he isn't alone in his troubles. The manufacturer has his, also.


Last month I had occasion to comment on the excellence of the service at soda fountains. where women dispensers are employed. This month I have something to say about man-run fountains, and the comments are going to be anything but complimentary.

During the past few weeks we have had some unusually-insufferably-hot weather, and in the midst of the heated spell my duties took me to a good-sized Western city. Upon arriving in the place after an all-night Pullman ride my first desire was for something cool.

Accordingly, I entered a drug store where a sign announced the recent installation of a thirty-foot, $10,000 soda fountain. The outfit was a beautiful one, the dispensers were attired in natty coats and caps, and the crowd of about two-score waiting customers convinced me that I had struck a "regular" fountain.

After purchasing a check and crowding up to the counter, however, I found that my judgment was ill-advised.

There was about half an inch of syrup, crushed fruit, and other slop on the marble slab. The dispensers were washing the dishes by giving them one dip in cold water; two glasses that had contained lemon phosphatea clear drink-were refilled without even a pretense of washing. Customers were waited

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My order was for ginger ale served in the original bottle.

Four other equally large stores that I tried were just as bad. The dishes were filthy; drinks weren't mixed- they were simply thrown together; and the customer who hesitated ever so slightly in stating his choice was passed by to be served five or ten minutes later.

Dirty dishes were piled everywhere, particularly favored places being those where the unclean glasses could be seen, and smelled, by the greatest number of patrons.

Of course the weather was hot, the rush of customers was almost overwhelming, and it was impossible to practice the little niceties that appeal to fastidious people.

Even all these excuses, however, can hardly be expected to condone unwashed glasses and spoons, syrup-encrusted counter slabs, and impertinent clerks.

I'll wager that for every dime taken in over these five fountains during the day I visited them, one dollar in lost sales will be the result. The customers who were lost to the stores because of the miserable service afforded will take their trade to fountains where cleanliness and courtesy are placed before a desire to see how many drinks can be slopped out-or else they will cut out patronizing soda fountains altogether.

Rates to the A. Ph. A. convention at Atlantic City, round trip: Portland, Me., $21.82; Boston, $16.50; Hartford, Conn., $11.36; New Haven, Conn., $9.54; New York City, $6; Cleveland, $24.10 or $23.60; Cincinnati, $29; Chicago, $34.50; St. Louis, $37; New Orleans, going and returning same route, $53.05; Atlanta, $36.05; Minneapolis and St. Paul, $53.50. From California common points going and returning by direct routes to New York and Philadelphia, $110.70. To come East by direct routes and return by Northern route via Portland, Ore., $17.50 must be added.


I went into a bank the other day.

The first

It was one of those banks where they have three receiving windows. clerk takes people whose names begin with "A," and so on up to "I"; the second clerk runs from "J" to "P"; and the third clerk monopolizes the rest of the alphabet. Of course I walked up to the J-P window. Unfortunately, however, eight or ten people were waiting in line ahead of me, and as I was in something of a hurry I felt rather impatient.

The floor officer, sensing the situation, whispered to me that I had better take the A-I window, where there happened to be nobody in line at all. I did so but with consequences which furnish the basis of this tale of woe.

The clerk, glancing at my deposit book, noticed at once that my name began with "M," and asserted somewhat petulantly:

"You belong at the next window."

"I know it," said I, "but there are a lot of people standing in line there, and the officer suggested that I come here."

Whereupon a frown settled heavily on the clerk's countenance and he called out loudly and snappishly to the officer:

"Say, Mac, I wish you would send people over to the third window if there are too many of them at the second. I'm busy."

This was about as direct an affront as could possibly be given to a customer. It pretty nearly amounted to a slap in the face.

A realization of this fact finally dawned on the haughty young man's mind, and he sought to fix it up, but in doing so he made things a lot worse.

"I certainly hope," he said, "that we don't have many more rushes like we've

had to-day, but I'm afraid we'll have another one the day before the 4th."

This was intended to have a mollifying effect, but can you imagine anything worse than such an attitude on the part of a clerk in a bank, a department store, a drug store, or any other institution on the face of the earth!

Here was a bank, for instance, with a young, virile, ambitious president endeavoring to build up a great enterprise. It has gone ahead by leaps and bounds. Every

year it has made itself bigger and better.

And yet this clerk didn't want more business-he resented having too many customers he was satisfied only when things were dull!

Ye gods, isn't it terrible!

With a staff of this kind any institution would go bankrupt in six months.

I might preach a little sermon on loyalty, but what's the use? The incident points its own moral.

Elbert Hubbard was eternally right when he gave this advice: "Get in line or get out." The clerk who doesn't work faithfully for his boss, who doesn't religiously carry out the spirit of the institution, who isn't just as much interested as his employer is in building up and promoting the enterprise—such a clerk is an absolute drag. The quicker he is out, the better.

And then think of the other side of the question for a minute.

Why under heaven doesn't a normal young man want to develop himself and improve his opportunities? If he is a clerk in a bank, why doesn't he look ahead to being assistant cashier, cashier, vice-president, president? How can he hope to rise to any of these positions higher up unless he makes good in the positions lower down?

I have already referred to the president of this particular bank. He started in as an errand boy, and now he runs the entire show with consummate ease and ability. Did he drive customers away when he served behind the grating as a receiving clerk, or did he smile a big smile and tell them to come on as fast as they liked the more the merrier?

You have only one guess.

H. B. M.

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